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Navigating natural disasters: new guide for carers of people with dementia

Australia has its fair share of floods, bushfires and cyclones, and for carers of people with dementia there is an extra layer of anxiety and potential danger.

With this in mind, QUT has partnered with the Red Cross to help prepare carers for a natural disaster through a new guide.

Dr Linda Schnitker from QUT’s School of Nursing said carers need to consider how to best help the person with dementia and also protect themselves from harm.

“Research studies reveal exposure to a natural disaster may exacerbate dementia symptoms and increase the risk of functional decline, hospitalisation and mortality,” Schnitker said.

Red Cross state manager for emergency services Collin Sivalingum said natural disasters and other emergencies affect one in three Australians during their lifetime.

“Emergencies can be distressing and complex and it can take a long time to recover. Some people never recover,” Sivalingum said, adding the more prepared people are the less stressful these events become.

Aged Care Insite spoke with Schnitker about weathering a natural disaster and earlier QUT research that explored the preparedness of residential aged care facilities.

The guide can be found here.

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